Often when I hear President George W. Bush speak about his so-called war-on-terror crusade, it’s like returning to some of the darkest periods of Argentinean history, when a ruthless military regime ruled the country in 1976-83.
Many of the barbaric interrogation techniques that the Argentinean security forces used in the ill-fated fight against “atheist” terrorism to defend the country from its “Christian and Western” values was leaned from the CIA.
One of these torture methods that security forces used was waterboarding, or known in Argentina as el submarino, the submarine. Despite having a different name, the aim of the torture technique is the same: to force the victim feel that he’s going to drown and thereby cave in to the interrogators. In some Argentinean detention centers, the water used to submerge the victims in was filled with human excrement.
Other widespread “routine” torture methods in Argentina and Latin America include the use of electricity. Victims in Argentina were normally forced to use hoods, just like captives in Iraq, so they couldn’t identify their torturers.
The short-term success that Argentina’s military had over its enemies made it eager to find new ones. The de facto government started rounding up potential terrorists; ie all those who could become but weren’t yet terrorists.
It took a colossal fiasco, like going to war with in 1982 over the Falkland Islands, known as islas Malvinas in Spanish, for the military to be humbled. Is Iraq George W. Bush administration’s Falkland Islands?
The mistaken path that Bush has taken in its fight against the real and/or imagined enemies of the US bares a spooky resemblance to what happened in Argentina during the dirty war era, when over 30,000 people disappeared.
The methods and reasoning Washington is using in its own war resembles the trademark of despotic regimes like in Argentina a long time ago.
A warning: The methods employed by Argentina’s junta during 1976-83 were so barbaric that the de facto government ended up becoming the terrorist.